How to Practice Safe BLW During the Holidays (1 of 3): Foods to Include

How to Practice Safe BLW During the Holidays (1 of 3): Foods to Include

🎶Fa-ba-ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba-baby led weaning🎶! It is that time of year again (the holidays!), full of yuletide and cheer, family and friends, and of course, good food and drink. We think you should spend this time with loved ones, not lugging around jars of baby food or stressing over finding the microwave in a turbulent holiday kitchen.

So how can you include your BLW bonhomme-de-neige in the festivities safely? With baby-led weaning, your baby can eat the same thing as the rest of the family, with some simple modifications. Brace your elves because we have a foolproof ‘how-to’ guide coming up!

 

Watch us explain how simple BLW during the holiday season can be in this video:

If you enjoyed this video and would like to see more like it, subscribe to my channel today!

 

Common Holiday Foods Modified for BLW

 

Turkey

This classic holiday protein is delicious and nutritious. For baby, offer the dark meat as it is usually more tender, and contains more of the iron and fat that baby needs. Remove the skin, which contains most of the salt, and choose a piece that is about the size of an adult pinky finger.

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You’ll be stuffed with ideas once you have read through this guide.

 

Steamed Green Beans

Tender steamed beans are perfect both in shape and texture for BLW babies. Make sure to rinse off any sauces that may be served with the beans.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness
Steaming the beans locks in the nutrients but makes them tender enough for little mouths.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Potatoes 

Mashed potatoes can be offered right on your babies platter, or on a preloaded spoon. Another option is scalloped potatoes, which have a wonderful soft texture and if cut thick enough, are easy for baby to grab and bring to their mouth.

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Make sure mashed potatoes are made extra creamy, so there are no lumps.

 

Anything Else!

Having something other than these three common foods? Try it out yourself before serving it to baby! First, always make sure the food is about the size of an adult pinky finger or larger. Then, pretend you have no teeth and squish it against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. If it comes apart and is easy to swallow, it is safe to offer to baby.

BLW, tasty, baby, baby led weaning, infant, nutrition, first foods, holidays, healthy, safe, safety, health, wellness

 

Will you include baby at the holiday table? Tell us in the comment section.

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Can babies eat foods grilled on the barbecue?

Can babies eat foods grilled on the barbecue?

 

It’s getting hot outside and it’s time to light the barbecue. You might be wondering if babies can eat food grilled on the barbecue. The question is: are barbecuing and Baby Led Weaning (BLW) compatible?

 

The answer is yes, starting at around 6 months old. You do want to make sure you do it safely (as with everything else) because research shows that cooking meat, poultry and fish at high temperatures may increase you and your baby’s risk of cancer.

 

Here are a few tips from the cancer.ca website:

 

  • Marinate meat, poultry and fish before cooking. Studies have shown that marinating these foods can prevent the formation of cancer-causing chemicals.
  • When barbecuing, choose lean cuts of meat, poultry and seafood over higher-fat meats. Trim off visible fat. This will reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that develop from the smoke created by burning fat.
  • Barbecue slowly and keep the food away from the hot coals so that flames are less likely to engulf the food to prevent charring.
  • Try grilling vegetables, veggie burgers and fruit slices. Most experts agree that plant-based foods do not form the cancer-causing substances when cooked at high heat.

 

Foods grilled on the barbecue are great for babies because they maintain their shape yet babies can easily bite into them. Asparagus are delicious this time of year. Why not try barbecued asparagus? Here is a 6-month old enjoying asparagus on the barbecue:

 

asparagus, barbecue, babies, baby, blw, baby led weaning, whole foods, bbq

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Even grilled mushrooms are totally appropriate for babies:

 

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If your baby just sucks on a strip of meat without actually eating any, he or she is still getting some iron. It could also occupy a baby for quite some time!

 

Here are some free barbecue recipes that you can try for your baby:

 

Chicken satay with creamy peanut sauce (includes a cooking demo video)

 

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Simple burgers for babies (feel free to cook these on the barbecue)

 

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Grilled lamb chops for babies

 

lamb chops blw Baby led weaning

 

Minty Lamb Meatballs

 

The mouthwatering final product! BLW

 

For more Baby Led Weaning (BLW) recipes for babies, GET YOUR FREE COOKBOOK FOR BABIES HERE.

 

What will you grill on the barbecue this weekend?

sauerkraut, baby, fermented foods, tout cru, tout cru fermentation, fermented veggies, lacto-fermented foods, benefits, blw, baby led weaning, real foods, digestion

Why you should give sauerkraut to your baby

What’s with all the hype around lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut? What are they, why should your baby eat them and where can you find them?

 

What are lacto-fermented vegetables?

 

Lacto-fermented vegetables (or simply “fermented veggies”) include foods like sauerkraut, pickles and pickled seasonal vegetables. They contain a healthy dose of gut-friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics. Regular consumption of these good bacteria is beneficial to your baby’s health.

 

Why are fermented vegetables good for babies?

 

Fermented vegetables help with digestion and provide a healthy boost to the immune system, improving all-around gut function [1]. Foods like sauerkraut and fermented vegetables have even been shown to reduce the risk of some cancers [1]. For babies in particular, fermented foods might be beneficial in helping with digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, or gas [2].

 

Aren’t fermented vegetables too salty for babies?

 

While fermented veggies like sauerkraut offer a wide range of health benefits to your baby, it’s important to keep in mind that they’re quite salty. While sodium is a required nutrient for babies, too much of it is not a good thing. Keeping this in mind, if you’re offering small amounts of fermented foods to your baby – like 1 pickled carrot spear, or 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut – the benefits of including them in your baby’s diet is worth the extra salt.  Please note that babies will suck on the piece of sauerkraut and not eat a whole lot. Offer them a large piece and always supervise them.

 

Here is a six-month old enjoying a large piece of sauerkraut:

 

sauerkraut, baby, fermented foods, tout cru, tout cru fermentation, fermented veggies, lacto-fermented foods, benefits, blw, baby led weaning, real foods, digestion

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

Here she is chomping down on a fermented carrot. It’s the perfect texture for her where she can easily grab it and it’s soft enough to take bites from:

 

sauerkraut, baby, fermented foods, tout cru, tout cru fermentation, fermented veggies, lacto-fermented foods, benefits, blw, baby led weaning, real foods, digestion

 

Here she is about to enjoy lacto-fermented turnips (right) and sauerkraut (left):

 

sauerkraut, baby, fermented foods, tout cru, tout cru fermentation, fermented veggies, lacto-fermented foods, benefits, blw, baby led weaning, real foods, digestion

 

Where can I find fermented vegetables?

 

One of my favorite store-bought brands of fermented foods is Tout Cru. They are a Montreal-based company that I absolutely love. I really believe in Pedro and Rachel’s mission. They make a wide range of fermented foods including kimchi, sauerkraut and seasonal fermented vegetables which are all so delicious. Check out their website to find out where you can purchase some near you! 

 

References:

  1. Parvez S, Malik KA, Ah Kang S, Kim HY. Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of applied microbiology. 2006 Jun 1;100(6):1171-85.
  2. Marchand V. Using probiotics in the paediatric population. Paediatrics & child health. 2012 Dec;17(10):575.

 

Have you ever given sauerkraut to your baby?

 

 

time saving, kitchen, recipe, blw, baby led weaning, baby, babies, time saving tricks

5 best kitchen time-saving tricks

Especially with kids, we’re always looking for time-saving tricks in the kitchen. We want to spend more time with the children and less time cooking. Today I’m sharing my 5 favorite tricks to save time in the kitchen!

 

1- Plan 2 hours weekly in the kitchen without (any) distractions

 

Doesn’t it sounds like a dream to have 2 hours undisturbed in the kitchen? I know. The thing is, this is what can make the biggest difference. No kids, no babies, no phone, no screens, no social media. Just you and the food in your kitchen. When you’re focused on one task, you are much more productive and can get done faster than trying to cook for 10 minutes here and there. Don’t hesitate to ask your partner, friend or family member to have fun with your child(ren) so you can have your weekly two hours. For me, this made the biggest difference. It’s ma favourite time saving trick in the kitchen!

 

2) Plan meals that are appropriate for all family members

 

A meal for 3 year old Leo, homemade puree for baby Sara and a steak, rice and roasted veggies for the parents? That’s way too much work. If you plan appropriately, everyone can eat the same meals. This will save you lots of time. If you haven’t heard about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) yet (where babies skip the puree stage and eat finger foods from their first bite), check out my BLW Online Course. In the course, I share more than 30 recipes that are appropriate for your whole family, even babies! Tons more time saving tricks are included in the course.

 

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I also have a brand new Baby Led Weaning eBook with more than 45 recipes for babies 6 months and more. You’ll find spinach soufflés, mini lamb burgers, garlicky chicken drumsticks, coconut shrimp bites (to die for!) and salmon sliders. Check out my brand new BLW eBook HERE (only 10$).

 

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3) Batch cook

 

What’s batch cooking? Basically, it’s making large quantities of food at one time. You can either keep the leftovers for lunches over the next few days or freeze them to eat within the next 3 months. Meals cooked in a slow cooker like soups and spaghetti sauces can easily be doubled or tripled. Most meals taste better the next day anyway!

 

4) Have ready-to-eat foods ready

 

I’m talking about hard boiled eggs, cooked sweet potatoes, cooked ground meat, cooked rice and roasted vegetables always available and ready to go. This makes it easier to whip up a meal when you have less time. Also, it makes it easy to grab something healthy on the go!

 

5) Buy some minimal prep foods

 

Frozen vegetables, washed and packaged leafy greens, canned salmon, pre-made guacamole, marinated meats and cut up fruit and vegetables can be so practical. Don’t feel like you need to make everything from scratch. These can be huge time-savers!

 

I hope these kitchen time-saving tricks were helpful.

How do you save time in the kitchen?

best high chair, high chair

How to choose the best high chair?

How to choose the best high chair?

 

A high chair isn’t absolutely necessary when introducing complementary foods to babies but it can certainly be practical. I decided to ask Catherine Cusson, an occupational therapist to help guide us.

 

What are the top 3 criteria to look for when shopping for a high chair?

 

1) The high chair must place baby in a 90 degree angle in between his/her back and hips

 

Therefore we want to avoid all high chairs that slightly recline backwards like this one:

 

best high chair, high chair, baby, blw

 

A high chair with foot support is much more comfortable for babies and ensures a better position. We love the Tripp Trapp chair by Stokke which can be used from starting complementary foods all the way throughout childhood.

 

best high chair, high chair, baby, jessica coll, blw

 

2) It must have good back support

 

We want to choose a high chair with a seatback that’s higher than the top of the baby’s head. We want to avoid choosing booster seats like this one with a low seatback:

 

bumbo, baby led weaning, best high chair, high chair

 

3) It must allow baby to have a 90 degree angle for his/her forearms

 

This way, your baby will have easier access to his/her foods on the tray. We want to avoid choosing high chairs with a tray that’s too high like this one:

 

 

best high chair, high chair, blw, baby

 

Our favourite high chair is The Trip Trap chair by Stokke.

 

Why we love it:

 

  • 90 angle in between your baby’s back and hips
  • Great back support with a high enough seatback
  • 90 angle for your baby’s forearms so easy access to food
  • Removable tray so you can bring your baby directly at the table to eat
  • Made in wood so easy to clean
  • It’s beautiful and available in a large variety of colors
  • Great for babies just starting out to eat until they are much older
  • Excellent foot support so ensures an optimal position and is comfortable for your baby

What high chair do you have? Is your baby in the correct position?

blw, kiwi, baby led weaning, jessica coll, dietitian

Why is BLW not for all babies?

Why is BLW not for all babies?  

 

To add to the information about BLW (Baby Led Weaning: what is it?) I share online, I decided to ask this question to Catherine Cusson, occupational therapist specializing in pediatrics from Clinique Pas Ă  Pas. She is the newest collaborator to my BLW Network.

 

Precautions

Before doing Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) with your baby, it is important to proceed safely by contacting a pediatric registered dietitian. Among other things, make sure that:

  • your baby is ready and does not start too early
  • your baby is sitting at 90 degrees
  • you do not place food in his/her mouth with your fingers
  • the environment is calm during meals
  • you offer the right foods to your baby (always test the texture of the food in between your tongue and roof of your mouth)
  • you watch your baby eat at all times
  • you contact a pediatric registered dietitian to make sure you are proceeding safely
  • you read the warning below

Warning*

BLW is contraindicated for babies at risk of dysphagia, such as babies who have an anatomic disorder (cleft palate, tongue tie), a neurological disorder (developmental delay, hypotonia, oral hypotonia) or a genetic disorder. Follow-up by a health professional (doctor, pediatric registered dietitian) is necessary for babies at risk of anemia such as babies born prematurely, babies with low birth weight (less than 3000 g), worries related to growth, babies born to an anemic mother, baby for whom cow’s milk was introduced early and/or a vegan baby.

*Cusson and Labonté, Baby-Led Weaning Conference, June 2018, Nutrium, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

 

blw, baby led weaning, occupational therapist, registered dietitian, rd, baby, babies

 

Jessica Coll, registered dietitian: Welcome Catherine!

 

Catherine Cusson, occupational therapist: Thank you for having me!

 

Jessica Coll, registered dietitian: I often get the following question: Is Baby Led Weaning (BLW) appropriate for all babies?

 

Catherine Cusson, occupational therapist: The short answer is NO, it’s not appropriate for all babies. We know that we only recommend starting BLW around the age of 6 months, when your baby can maintain a sitting position on the floor and can bring food to his/her mouth. In order to proceed with BLW as an approach to introducing solids, your baby needs to have good motor and sensory development. Therefore, if there is a development delay or a particular condition, I recommend asking your doctor, occupational therapist or physical therapist beforehand.

 

Jessica Coll, registered dietitian: So what kinds of conditions prevent babies from starting BLW at around 6 months old?

 

Catherine Cusson, occupational therapist: Here is a list of conditions that might prevent babies from doing BLW at around 6 months of age:

 

  • Babies born at 36 weeks of gestation or less
  • Babies with developmental delays
  • Hypotonic babies (How do you recognize this? Your baby would constantly have his/her mouth open, stick his/her tongue out and would not be able to control his/her saliva)
  • Babies diagnosed with a genetic syndrome
  • Babies with a cleft lip or a tongue tie

 

Jessica Coll, registered dietitian: Why is it important for babies to maintain a sitting position before starting BLW?

 

Catherine Cusson, occupational therapist: The sitting position is necessary before starting solids for two reasons:

 

  • First, a good sitting position allows your baby to spit out a food after a gag reflex. This helps to prevent choking.
  • Also, the trunk stability is necessary for the development of your baby’s chewing skills.

 

Jessica Coll, registered dietitian: That’s great information. Thank you Catherine!

 

To find out more about Catherine Cusson and her services, feel free to visit her website.

 

blw, occupational therapist, dietitian, physical therapist